[Antidepressants agents in breast cancer patients using tamoxifen: review of basic and clinical evidence]

Rev Med Chil. 2016 Oct;144(10):1326-1335. doi: 10.4067/S0034-98872016001000013.
[Article in Spanish]


Tamoxifen (Tmf), is a standard of care for women with estrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer. Endoxifen is a Tmf metabolite generated by cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6). Antidepressive agents (AD) are often prescribed to women with breast cancer not only for depression, but also for anxiety and hot flashes. Some AD are substrates or inhibitors of the Tmf metabolic pathway. Therefore there may be interactions when Tmf and AD are prescribed simultaneously. Oncologic protection afforded by Tmf may become less effective or null when AD are indicated, especially in poor metabolizing patients. We performed an update of the literature about the criteria for choosing AD in women receiving Tmf. Tricyclic AD, paroxetine and fluoxetine should be avoided in patients receiving Tmf, because they are strong inhibitors of CYP2D6. Bupropion, duloxetine and sertraline are only moderate inhibitors of the cytochrome and are not contraindicated. Citalopram, desvenlafaxine, escitalopram, milnacipran and venlafaxine are recommended, because they do not influence the metabolism and clinical efficacy of Tmf and have fewer drug interactions. However, other additional pharmacological and clinical issues should be considered when choosing an antidepressant in women with breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antidepressive Agents / metabolism
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / metabolism
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / pharmacology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6 / drug effects
  • Drug Interactions
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Tamoxifen / metabolism
  • Tamoxifen / pharmacology*


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
  • Tamoxifen
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6